Digital Hospitals

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Hand hygiene adherence

Clean hands are important factors in the prevention of the spread of pathogens and reducing incidences of healthcare-associated infections in a health care setting. To ensure that hand hygiene practices are adhered to, some health organizations use electronic monitoring and Electronic counting devices. The practice of measuring hand hygiene compliance is important in the facilitation of change and implementing necessary interventions. Previously, hand hygiene adherence has been done through direct observations or measuring the amount and frequency of product used. Automated electronic monitoring is an effective way of ensuring adherence to hand hygiene. Automated monitoring is often resource intensive as quality improvement staff and other health care face numerous competing demands for their expertise and time(Mathur, 2011).

Reduction in medication errors

Due to the high frequency of medication errors that result in patient harm and cost to healthcare organizations, reduction of errors has been a priority for most health systems. Healthcare organizations have adopted the use of information technology including automated dispensing, barcode medication administration, computerized physician order entry, personal health records, and electronic medication reconciliation as vital components of the strategy to prevent medication errors. A growing body of evidence has documented the widespread implementation of automated systems to reduce medical errors. There is growing evidence that automated systems such as automated dispensing cabinets, electronic medication reconciliation, and computerized physician order entry, bedside bar-coded medication administration are key components of strategies to prevent medication errors. Studies show that Hospitals with automated order entry, notes and records, and clinical decision support have lower mortality rates and fewer complications(Oren et al., 2003).

With the high volume of medication dispensation in hospitals, errors have become common. Most of these errors go undetected. However, they have serious consequences. Automated dispensing cabinets reduce dispensing errors by recognizing medications, packaging and dispensing using bar codes. Errors of emission can also have a significant impact. For example, patients with heart failure as a result of dysfunction of left ventricular receive prescriptions as a useful measure to reduce re-hospitalization and mortality a few days after discharge. A smart electronic discharge summary can be used be used to remind the physician to prescribe necessary medication(Bates, 2000).

Continuity of care for patients with chronic diseases who reside in remote areas

Chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease place a growing burden on the country’s health care system.  In response, hospitals have automated their systems by instituting chronic disease management programs to minimize the occurrence of adverse events and preventable hospitalizations by more comprehensively and effectively managing the health of patients with chronic conditions living in rural areas. Health care facilities implement information technology to facilitate the implementation and control of chronic disease management programs. Some of the technologies include clinical decision support system, Health information exchange, disease registries, Patient-centered applications, Telehealth applications and Electronic health records.

Clinical decision support systems enable providers to document clients’ health status, interpret clinical results and prescribe medications through customized data entry forms, reminders, and alerts. Health information exchanges facilitate the sharing of information across hospital boundaries. Such systems allow providers in a community to provide better patient care. Telehealth applications have the ability to remotely connect providers and patients. Integrated voice response, personal health records, patient portals and other patient-centered applications can be used to help educate patients on how they can self-manage chronic conditions (Celler et al., 2003).

Reference

Bates, D. W. (2000). Using information technology to reduce rates of medication errors in hospitals. British Medical Journal, 320(7237), 788.

Celler, B. G., Lovell, N. H., & Basilakis, J. (2003). Using information technology to improve the management of chronic disease. Medical Journal of Australia, 179(5), 242-246.

Mathur, P. (2011). Hand hygiene: back to the basics of infection control. The Indian journal of medical research, 134(5), 611.

Oren, E., Shaffer, E. R., & Guglielmo, B. J. (2003). Impact of emerging technologies on medication errors and adverse drug events. American Journal of Health System Pharmacy, 60(14), 1447-1458.

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